Sales Appointment Basics
Learning to Sell | Lesson 2

Permission to Contact and Initial Contact

Before contacting a potential client, CMS requires agents to obtain a permission to contact before making an outreach. Let’s take a moment to break down this compliance requirement.

As a rule, agents may not market Medicare Advantage, or Part D plans, with an unsolicited telephone call. Agents must receive, from the client, permission to contact before calling them.

Permission to contact can come in many ways, like receiving an email from a client requesting a call, receiving a call from a client, or even receiving a business reply card from a direct mailer. This permission is event specific and shouldn’t be treated as open-ended permission for future contact. For example, if you received a business reply card six months ago, but never reached out to the contact, you should obtain a new permission to contact prior to making an outreach.

Agents can make unsolicited contact, through direct mail and email, but your emails must have an opt out option. You can also make unsolicited contact to clients who submitted enrollment applications to follow up on all matters related to the enrollment, like confirming they received their ID cards, and follow-up calls to ensure that their plan is meeting their needs. It is important to note that, in addition to needing to follow CMS rules, regarding beneficiary contact, other rules and requirements would apply, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, known as the TCPA, and the CAN-SPAM Act.

Once you’ve received that permission to contact, you may reach out to introduce yourself, as well as your business, and schedule a full Medicare sales appointment. During your introduction, you want to focus on the service you provide to the client. Help them answer the questions “How does working with you benefit them?” and “How are your services valuable to the prospect?” And of course, use this as a starting place to get to know your potential client and their needs. That’s something we’ll talk about a bit more later.

Before we wrap up this conversation, I want to mention Scope of Appointment, or SOA. This is a document that must be signed by prospect and an agent before beginning an individual sales appointment to draw that prospect to a specific plan or a group of plans.

In the meantime, you may be thinking, “I’ve scheduled a meeting with my client, but where do I start?” Head over to the next lesson to find out.

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